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Test_Engineer 04-22-2018 12:03 PM

Under Pressure
 
I'm pretty good at grilling and can even pull off a little bit of baking. But my favorite method of making big meals is the crockpot. You throw a bunch of ingredients together, turn it on low, and eat around 8 hours later.

Slow cooking is great. But you have to plan ahead. Sometimes you don't have that luxury and need something fast. So a few years ago, I bought a pressure cooker. I understand the concept, but have still never used it.

All of the instructions I have found online indicate cooking in stages. Add meat, cook for a while; add hearty vegetables, cook for a while; add light vegetables, finish the cooking. Each one of these stages involves a heating/cooling cycle. So I don't see how this is going to get a meal prepared any faster.

Do any of you do any cooking with a pressure cooker? I would like to know how to use one (in practical terms) to make a meal quickly. Perhaps you can share your experience and maybe a recipe?

Thanks!!!
TE

Keeley 04-22-2018 12:18 PM

Handle
 
Excuse me but with the handle "Test Engineer" you ought to be up to going out on a limb and risking things on your own!😁😎

Test_Engineer 04-22-2018 01:28 PM

Re: Handle

"Keeley": A beautiful, model type girl that all the boys want and fight over. :D

fourbore 04-22-2018 01:31 PM

You can run your model steam engines off a pressure cooker.

If I am in a hurry, I nuke my food.

Keeley 04-22-2018 03:31 PM

Keelsy
 
Actually thats Keeley laying on the gun case scared she's gonna be left behind.:bthumb:


Whenever the local supermarket has personal size steaks on sale buy one package of 3 or 4 and get two free or the same thing with chicken breasts I take half a dozen of them, a big can of chili or enchilada sauce, a can of jalapenos and a can of beer and let things cook in the crock pot until you can shread the meat. Pretty good stuff that a loner can divide up and put in the freezer.

Test_Engineer 04-27-2018 12:15 PM

I guess from the complete absence of useful replies, that nobody at RFC uses a pressure cooker. :rolleyes:

Interesting that doing a web search for "how to use a pressure cooker" returns very little useful information. But searching for "how to pressure cook a pork butt" returns a wealth of videos and recipes for all kinds of cooking. After watching a number of videos to get some idea of cooking times and so on - I took the plunge last night.

I added a can of beer and a steam tray. Half an onion and 2 pounds of marinated pork butt and the lid. Let it cook for 60 minutes and cooled the lid to drop the pressure and opened it up.

Had to add some water, then some potatoes, carrots, and apple slices. Continued cooking for another 15 minutes and let it cool for 10 minutes on it's own. I released the remaining pressure with the steam valve and chowed down.

So here's what I found to be the pros and cons of the pressure cooker vs the crock pot:

1) Prep time is the same for both.
2) The pressure cooker will loose about 12 ounces of moisture an hour.
3) Steamed meat will be a little bit drier than the steeped meat. Not bad, but drier none the less.
4) Cook time of 1.5 hours for the PC verses 6.0 hours for the crock pot. This is starting with thawed meat from the fridge. Don't know about starting with frozen meat.
5) Veggies cook very fast. I was surprised the potatoes were cooked completely so fast.
6) Cleaning the crock pot requires some soak time to loosen the stuff that burns onto the edges. The pressure cooker rinsed right out.
7) The crock has to have electricity to work. The PC could be used over gas or coals if that's what you have available. So it could go along to hunting camp.

Most of the videos I saw were using some computer programmed type of cookers. More convenient for the kitchen, but less versatile than the one I have. As I use it more and gain experience cooking different types of food - I think I'll enjoy the flexibility more and more. But for now, the crock is still my fave!

I hope this helps someone who has thought about getting one and chickened out. :)

Ferox34 04-27-2018 12:36 PM

not an engineer, but
 
I think that using a pressure cooker varies by altitude. More time and pressure needed at higher altitudes, and I note that you are in Colorado.

My Mom was a trained dietician and I picked up these little nuggets of info along the way. Had relatives in Albuquerque and she would comment when using the cooker or baking a cake that you would need to "adjust" for higher elevations.


Ferox34

Ferox34 04-27-2018 12:43 PM

Here's a HUGE tip......
 
[QUOTE=Test_Engineer;10853354]

6) Cleaning the crock pot requires some soak time to loosen the stuff that burns onto the edges.


They make crock pot liners....like a mini plastic trash bag....which do exactly what they say. Put in a liner, load in your food, cook it, serve it, eat it, toss out the liner and no other cleanup needed. My wife uses these when she makes a batch of meatballs for appetizers with a sticky glaze, so, so much easier to clean up, no messy, sticky glaze to wrestle with.


You are welcome, you will never have to clean your crock pot again, and I think they make them in round and oval sizes to fit different sizes of pots.

Test_Engineer 04-27-2018 01:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ferox34 (Post 10853418)
I think that using a pressure cooker varies by altitude. More time and pressure needed at higher altitudes, and I note that you are in Colorado.

The pressure cooker evens out cooking time quite a lot. Normal cooking definitely requires more time here. At sea level water boils at 212 degrees. At 5500 ft. where I live, it boils at about 192. At 10,000 ft. where I hunt elk, water boils at about 185 degrees. Using a lid helps a lot, and the pressure cooker is even better.

Quote:

They make crock pot liners....
Yeah, they seem like they would be a hassle. I just rinse the loose stuff out and fill it with water to the top of the burned stuff. Then I add a dryer sheet. After soaking about an hour, everything wipes out easily with the sheet. No scrubbing! :bthumb:

wookness 04-30-2018 01:19 PM

We have and use the stainless steel Presto™ pressure cookers both in town and at the cabin. Where they come into their own is w/tougher cuts of meat and some game, like a mature fox squirrel or a mostly grown jack rabbit. In all cases we find that searing the meat in the pressure cooker first is a worthwhile activity. We mostly use olive oil for cooking, but find that a slight coat of lard like used to season cast iron cookware, inclusive of on the cooker's seal/gasket makes opening & closing the lid and cleanup easier. You could probably just as easily use one of the cooking sprays if lard is objectionable. For some recipes you want to stop the cooking immediately and to do that just hold the sealed cooker under running cold water and the pressure valve will drop very quickly. Pressure cookers can turn veggies into mush PDQ if you are not very careful, so my own inclination is to cook the meat under pressure first, then perhaps add the 'harder' vegetables, like carrots, parsnips or turnips, cooking them under pressure for a very short period and then cooking the remainder of the softer vegetables in the cooker's pan, but w/o pressure and taking the normal amount of time for them to reach the desired consistency. Sometimes I will remove the meat when doing that and let it rest rather than get cooked into oblivion or become vulcanized from over-cooking.

I've also used a pressure cooker to prepare beef heart w/Marjoram and tongue back in my more curious times learning to cook. Have not fixed either in a long while. Both are quite good, btw. Separate dishes, of course.

--

On slow cookers one 'trick' that turns out some easy and tasty BBQ is to take a pre-packaged corned beef brisket leaving the spice packet provided unused and instead just place the bare brisket in the slow cooker and pour a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce over it and cook it on low for 6~8 hours. A beer added first is optional, but I've done it w/a Guinness or any of several Mexican beers w/good results, tho the jury remains out how much dif. it really makes. I've also done it using a splash of home-made red wine vinegar which is nothing more than the dregs from assorted bottles of vino tinto not quite finished and kept in a separate bottle for use in marinades and as cooking wine. A little Marsala may be used in the same manner, if preferred. It should go w/o saying to use one or the other if doing so, but never beer & wine at the same time.
--

Perhaps something of use to you here. Good cooking to ya regardless! :)

CZ shooter 04-30-2018 01:36 PM

tough rooster
 
The pressure cooker always came out when we had an old mean tough rooster that needed a rest in a bed of homemade noodles ::rolleyes:. Same for old laying hens .

CardPuncher 04-30-2018 02:49 PM

The 2 best uses I've found for pressure cookers are: 1) on the sailboat one of those small ones without a protruding handle was spill-proof on the stove. I didn't use the pressure feature. 2) The one we have now is the best pot in the kitchen for rice. No pressure there, either.

But we just visited some folks with an Insta-Pot electronic digital fancy many-buttoned computerized Bluetooth - actually I'm not sure it really has that feature - 3rd generation Smart Multi-Use, Programmable Pressure Cooker designed by Canadians with the objective of being Convenient, Dependable & Safe.. (https://instantpot.com/) It sounds hokey but Amazon has over 28,000 mostly 4-5 star reviews. I'm seriously considering one.

As for the old-fashioned PC, I don't think you want to do anything that requires opening it in the middle of the process. Other than that - they do what they are claimed to do. Despite my sarcasm, I've gotten good mileage out of one in the past, but it's been a long time.

flangster 04-30-2018 04:11 PM

I use a pressure cooker -- we have two: the All American that looks like what Wile E. Coyote used to use from Acme, and a newer Instant Pot, which is like a pressure cooker with a brain that will make you yogurt, or chili, or whatever.

In general, we use them to make cooked beans from dry in about an hour. My wife and daughter are vegetarians so we eat a lot of beans. (!!!) However, I did make a beef stew with the Insta-Pot last week and the meat was all admirably tender. Same result with chicken, same result with brisket.

We also have a slow cooker, which is more convenient for "stew at the end of the day." My favorite: ribs that are cooked on "Lo" in the slow cooker for eight hours and finished on the grill. Man! Those things fall right off the bone, and our guests look like satisfied cave-men. My father-in-law likes sweet Kansas city BBQ. I go more for the vinegar-based heat.

I'd echo the sentiment above that any cooking process requiring you to open the pressure cooker more than once sounds like a royal pain. It can also be used as an auto-clave to steralize canning gear. When I use the pressure cookers this way, all the ingredients go in at the beginning and aren't touched until served. Sometimes I caramelize/sautee meat or onions at the beginning of the process with the top off and before any liquid is added, but that is about it.

Vinton 05-11-2018 10:51 PM

I have 4 cookers
 
I have 4 pressure cookers. An insta pot (too small for most uses) an old jiggler style, a newer counter weight, and a pressure canner. I love making pot roast (2 hours under pressure) and corned beef in the pressure cooker. I once made a navy bean volcano by releasing pressure too quickly on a pressure cooker. The wife did not see the humor in it. I cook my vegetables separate from the meat. The pressure canner helps with home made chicken stock and non acidic vegetables.

Rem504 05-19-2018 09:28 PM

I like My InstaPot
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CardPuncher (Post 10865978)
The 2 best uses I've found for pressure cookers are: 1) on the sailboat one of those small ones without a protruding handle was spill-proof on the stove. I didn't use the pressure feature. 2) The one we have now is the best pot in the kitchen for rice. No pressure there, either.

But we just visited some folks with an Insta-Pot electronic digital fancy many-buttoned computerized Bluetooth - actually I'm not sure it really has that feature - 3rd generation Smart Multi-Use, Programmable Pressure Cooker designed by Canadians with the objective of being Convenient, Dependable & Safe.. (https://instantpot.com/) It sounds hokey but Amazon has over 28,000 mostly 4-5 star reviews. I'm seriously considering one.

As for the old-fashioned PC, I don't think you want to do anything that requires opening it in the middle of the process. Other than that - they do what they are claimed to do. Despite my sarcasm, I've gotten good mileage out of one in the past, but it's been a long time.

I have an InstaPot and I like it very much; much more than the traditional stove pot type that I also own. Like anything else you own, you have to learn how to use it. Last night I was making chicken and sausage gumbo but all I had were frozen chick thighs. I put the 3 of them in the Instapot with water filled to the top of the rack , set it for 30 minutes and they were perfectly done. I'm not sure if the 30 minutes included the time needed to pressurize the pot.


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